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The meaning and origin of the expression: A lick and a promise

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A lick and a promise

What's the meaning of the phrase 'A lick and a promise'?

A cursory effort, for instance at painting or tidying up. It alludes to the perfunctory washing performed by children.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A lick and a promise'?

This is colloquial English and the first record of it in print that I can find is in the English newspaper The Era, March 1848:

...polish here, brush there, slop at one place, give a lick and a promise at another...

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